THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL Written and Directed by Marielle Heller Based on the novel by Phoebe Gloeckner Official Selection Sundance Film Festival 2015 101 mins Distribution
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SYNOPSIS Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” Monroe Rutherford (Alexander Skarsgård). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment. Set in 1976 San Francisco, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL begins at the crossroads of the fading hippie movement and the dawn of punk rock. News commentary of the Patty Hearst trial echoes in the background, as Minnie’s young expressive eyes soak in a drug-laden city in transition— where teenage rebellion and adult responsibility clash in characters lost and longing. Minnie’s hard-partying mother and absent father have left her rudderless. She first finds solace in Monroe’s seductive smile, and then on the backstreets of the city by the bay. Animation serves a refuge from the confusing and unstable world around her. Minnie emerges defiant— taking command of her sexuality and drawing on her newfound creative talents to reveal truths in the kind of intimate and vivid detail that can only be found in the pages of a teenage girl’s diary. THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel of the same name, hailed by Salon as “one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender and beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America.” Writer/Director Marielle Heller unlocks this diary with a richly comedic and deeply personal vision. In her feature film directorial debut, Heller brings Gloeckner’s book to life with fearless performances, a stirring score, inventive graphic novel-like animation sequences, imagination, humor and heart. It is a coming of age story that is as poignant as it is unsettling.
Based on the book by
Marie-Hélène Dozo Koen Timmerman
Original Score by
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Q&A with Writer/Director Marielle Heller
Writer and Director Marielle Heller has lived with the character “Minnie Goetze” for a long time. Eight years, as matter of fact. First, she began as a fan of Phoebe Gloeckner’s hybrid novel told in “words and pictures,” and then she mounted a long effort to win the rights to adapt The Diary of a Teenage Girl into a stage play. In 2010, she played the character in an acclaimed offBroadway production at the 3LD Art & Technology Center. Then as a writer, she developed “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” at the Sundance Labs with guidance from the likes of Lisa Cholodenko and Nicole Holofcener. Finally, as a director, Heller is making her feature film directorial debut at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival with the project. Throughout the entire journey, one thing remained constant. Heller was drawn to the character’s “brutal honesty” and having played many teenage girls as an actress, this role, to Heller, felt most like real life. At the completion of every milestone, she kept finding she wasn’t finished telling this girl’s story. Below she opens up about the provocative and sexual nature of the film, the breakout performance of Bel Powley, casting her dear friend Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård’s willingness to explore the darkness of his complex character with the role, how to cheat the look of a period piece, and the benefits of filming in your hometown. When did you first encounter Phoebe Gloeckner’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl and how would you describe it? My sister gave me the book for Christmas eight years ago, just as kind of, “I think you’ll like this.” She is six years younger than me— loves graphic novels— and she introduces me to cool things all the time. She told me she read it in high school and that it had meant a lot to her. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is sort of a hybrid novel: part diary, part graphic novel/comic book. And it’s just an incredibly honest version of what it is to be a teenager, told from the perspective of a teenager. Even if not every teenager goes through this exact experience— I didn’t go through this exact experience— it still feels closer to what it felt like to be a real teenage girl than anything I have ever read. As Minnie becomes a sexual being— and the emotional journey that accompanies it— I think this is a more honest version of what that experience is like, much more than anything we’re used to seeing. It’s very rare to see a young girl enjoying and owning her sexuality in such a powerful way.
I remember watching American Pie and feeling so outside of it, even though I was 17 or 18 when it came out. I remember thinking, “Oh, girls are the objective of this story.” They are not present. The whole story is about how dudes feel about girls and there’s never any perspective given about how girls may feel about boys. I identified more with the dudes. It’s a really bad message to send to teenage girls that boys are the only ones who are going to want sex. You’re going to be the one that doesn’t want it. You’re the one who is going to want to withhold it until you decide that you are willing to give it to the guy. This is going to be your power struggle. Nobody tells a girl what it’s like if you want to have sex. What if you’re a teenage girl who wants to have sex? If you are, there’s still this thing, of feeling like a freak because everything you’ve ever read or seen tells you— you shouldn’t want it. Only boys want it. And that’s not true. Boys are given so many examples of films that say whatever they feel sexually is normal, even if it’s defacing a pie. And girls are just basically relegated to this one little area— you have this virginity to protect and boys are going to try and take it away from you. I do think we have to retrain our minds a little bit as audience members— being OK in seeing
these stories about girls instead of just boys. As girls, we have been trained for a long time to
relate to a male protagonist, to feel their stories and to be invested in them. And there’s no
reason why we can’t invest in female characters the same way. Or why boys can’t watch this
movie and think, “Oh I relate to Minnie, even though she’s a girl.” That’s OK. I had to read
Catcher in the Rye and relate to Holden Caulfield. When I read Phoebe’s book I thought this is
how boys must feel when reading Catcher in the Rye. So, why can’t boys watch this movie and relate to Minnie? It’s a two-way street. Sexuality is something we’re both experiencing and so if
one side’s perspective is reflected, the other side should be reflected too. Do you worry that the extreme promiscuity in the film sends the wrong kind of message? I don’t think it’s a problem that teenagers have sex. I think it’s a problem when people don’t know their own self-worth and don’t respect themselves. I tried to stay away from this story ever being a lesson. It’s not a morality story. It’s just a depiction of what it feels like to be a teenage girl. We always look at our teenage girls’ stories to have major moral lessons and to be some kind of puritanical morality tale. This is not meant to be that at all. This is a rebellion against that. But Minnie does grow tremendously in the film.
Definitely. I think movies are only interesting if our lead characters go on a journey and become better in some way. But I don’t think her journey is that she realizes sex is bad— her journey is she’s realizes that she loves herself, and that her worth is not external. It’s not in anyone else. It’s not in a man. It’s not in a woman. It’s not in any kind of external source. It’s internal. I wanted to say this without it being a morality tale that tells you sex is bad, or if you go down this path you’re screwed, because I think we also have a lot of stories about girls who have gone wrong and how much that screws them up. Sex won’t necessarily screw you up, because if the lesson on the other end is learning to love yourself and taking control, that’s a good thing. Minnie doesn’t have a very good role model. She has no role models. She has no role models in her life about how to handle the stuff she’s going through as a teenage girl. She has a mom who tells her to “dress cuter,” and “show it off while you got it.” She’s taught, “You need men to admire you to have self-worth.” So Minnie has to figure it out on her own which is why it takes a while, and she stumbles, and she has to go through so many heartbreaking things. And yet it’s so funny. Well, because I think even when you’re in the worst situations, especially when you’re a teenager — when I look back at the times I totally could have died or was in really dangerous situations, they didn’t feel terrible. They felt funny and I was having a great time. It’s only in retrospect that you’re like, “Oh my God, how did I live through that?” Bel Powley’s a total revelation, how did you discover her? She’s so incredible. She is a British actor. She submitted a tape that was just so good, and at the end of the tape she included this personal message to me about why she loved the material. She connected to it in this real way. And it was weird because it was pretty early on in the casting process that her tape came to me. And I really loved Bel’s tape, but I kept thinking I can’t have found Minnie yet. So I just kept searching, and I auditioned hundreds of girls and kept comparing them to Bel. I wanted to cast Monroe before I cast Minnie because I felt like their chemistry is going to be so crucial. When I cast Alexander (Skarsgård), who’s amazing, I had Bel fly out to NY. I had them in a room together and we spent like 3-4 hours working through the scenes. And they really connected. Then I knew it was right.
We talked about how pretty much everyone in the movie is emotionally stunted. He’s definitely stunted, and they’re kind of an emotional match. If anything she has surpassed him. This isn’t an abusive relationship. There are actually real feelings happening inside him. While he knows the relationship is wrong— he’s not taking advantage of her. It’s more complicated and grey than that. I think towards the end of the film, he really does discover he’s in love with her. And that’s a very real moment for him. Bel was a champion. She is in almost every single scene of the movie. She was 21 when we filmed (22 now) and that’s pretty young to basically carry an entire movie. She had really embrace a flawed character and live in there all day long, every day for five weeks. She was a total pro. She does theater, and I come from theater. I feel like theater actors are taught to be professional and come in with their prep work done. I love the moment when she is with the young boy her own age and she wants to be on top because she wants to have an orgasm, and that totally freaks him out. It goes back to Minnie going on this journey that brings her closer to herself, that she thinks is about other people, but is really about herself. Describe the process of creating the script. You’ve got a real comedic sensibility. I always found parts of this really funny, and other people would tell me I don’t think people will think it is as funny as you think it is. I found a lot of humor in it, because I think there’s something really relatable and humorous about what it is to be a teenager. Whether you’re a boy or girl, how your logic works when you’re that age is just sort of hilarious. It’s also brutally honest. The film opens and she doesn’t want to pass up the chance to have sex with him because she thinks she might not ever get another. I remember having that thought as a teenager. Maybe no one will ever want to have sex with me? And as an adult you come to realize that’s insane. And it’s especially insane because girls really can have sex whenever they want. Pretty much. There’s always someone who wants to have sex with you. But we all have thoughts of, “maybe it will never happen.” Bel is very real. She’s beautiful, but in an unassuming way. Yes. It was really important to me that she was a girl we could relate to in a real way... that she was really somebody who you could look at and go, “that’s me.” And Bel just draws you in. Her face just draws you in. We would put on this one close-up lens and you would feel everyone on the monitors lean forward on her close ups. Bel’s skin and eyes pull you in and she’s just so
open. She’s not the typical sarcastic teenager which I feel like I’ve seen a lot. Pure curiosity, totally earnest, she’s not self-conscious. She’s really a hero to me in that way. We’re experiencing something really raw, and just unfiltered. And Bel was perfect for that. Having it set in the 1970s brings a little distance that makes Minnie’s sexual awakening more accessible. It would be more frightening to watch it happening if it were set in contemporary time, I think. I think that’s definitely true. The book takes place in the 1970s in San Francisco, and I’m from the Bay Area. There is a very different culture that’s still present in that city. I connected to the location even though I was a teenager living there in the early 90s. I felt the reverberations of the hippie movement even when I was growing up. My parents were hippies. My mom grew up there but my dad came from New York to escape New York. I think San Francisco is a place where people go to escape their real lives and to live in this sort of utopia. But there are consequences to that, especially if you’re a kid whose parents are all running away from their real life. The women’s movement was starting to get into full force at this time. Yeah, it was kind of a weird time for the country in the 70s. I used the Patty Hearst trial as this little reflection of the time period. I read this article about the Patty Hearst trial written decades later. And when it was 1976, the question was “Are we responsible for our own decisions?” Basically that is what it was coming down to. Is this girl, Patty Hearst— is she a victim? Or is she culpable? And this article was saying if this trial had happened in 1966, we would have just said she’s a victim, she was kidnapped, she’s been brainwashed— she’s definitely a victim. If it had happened in 1986, they would have said she’s responsible— individual responsibility, she should pull herself up by her bootstraps, we are all responsible for ourselves, so, get it together. But in 1976, we were sort of in between these two extremes and that’s where the character of Minnie lives. There’s this big question of who’s responsible for this situation— is this character responsible for what’s happening to her, or is she not? And that’s what we were so obsessed with culturally. Somewhere culturally we were living in between those two extremes— victimhood and personal responsibility. It started as a stage play.
I spent three years turning Phoebe’s book into a stage play, which we did in New York in 2010, and I played Minnie. Because I was an actor, I came at it from an acting perspective. And was so in love with this character. Weirdly, at that time, I had been playing a lot of teenage girls on stage and I just hadn’t felt nearly as connected to any of them. After I read the book I thought, “This is the teenage girl that I want to play on stage.” So anyway, I went through the whole process of basically trying to convince anybody, the publisher, the agent, and eventually the author that I had any credibility. I was trying to give them a reason why they should let me adapt this book. And that took a little bit of time because I was basically coming at it with no knowledge. I had never done anything like this. But I was just so driven by this passion... I just felt totally compelled, like I have to do this thing. So that process started and putting up the play was an incredible, really great, learning experience. Meanwhile I had started writing other things, other screenplays and other film and TV things while I was working on this purely as a play. And then after the production ended and we had a great run, we got a good New York Times review and all of that good stuff and it ended. But I just wasn’t done with it. We considered doing another production of it in San Francisco, which seemed interesting but I felt like, well, I’ve done that. The production was already great— it’s not going to be any better in a different city. And then I started to see it as a movie, which was going to be very different from the stage play. And one of the first people I talked to about it with was Anne Carey (producer). She’d seen the play and it was her suggestion that I try to get into the Sundance Labs because it was tough material. It might help if you can be associated with something as prestigious as the labs. I started working on the script and then was just lucky enough to get into the Writers Lab with it. From the Writers Lab I went to the Directors Lab, and it really grew from there. Lisa Cholodenko and Nicole Holofcener were some of my first advisors. I just had incredible advisors, including David Stevens, Michael Arndt, Susannah Grant, and Scott Frank. I had really, really great people supporting me. I think the reason people are drawn to you is because you have such a unique voice. Or are they polarized by it? Some people had a hard time with this material.
It does punch you from the beginning and it doesn’t let go. It’s funny because a lot of people would give me the same note, which was... “I think we need to know her a little better before she has sex.” I remained firm. We’re starting from the place of her just having sex and going from there.
I like the device of Minnie taping her diary entries. That kind of came from the idea that the book is sort of a hybrid. Phoebe kind of reinvented the form a little bit with her book. Because its part graphic novel part diary... it had images and words, it’s kind of a multimedia hybrid. And I think the graphic novel world didn’t totally know what to do with that either when it came out. And so I felt like the movie needed to be a multimedia experience in many ways with animation and recording. There needed to be a reason why this story was being recorded in an interesting way, because this character is so creative, that she would be coming up with creative ways to document her life. Minnie finds an identity as an artist. All these things that are pouring out of her, this artistry is pouring out of her— and that makes her feel more like a freak for a while. But it actually becomes the thing that makes her really special in the world. These drawings help her survive and cope because she processes every thing she’s experiencing through her art. There’s an evolution of her creative and artistic self that runs parallel to her sexual and emotional awakening. And in some ways, Minnie’s art becomes the thing that helps you know she’s going to be ok, because of how talented she is. Talk about Kristen Wiig, how did she get involved? Kristen is a dear friend of mine and I’ve never wanted to talk about work at all, because we just have a personal relationship. But early on I got really excited about the idea of her in this part because it felt like a surprising choice. And there would have been a lot of dramatic actresses who people would’ve expected me to go to for with this character. I actually thought Kristen would tow the line in a much more interesting way, and could create this charming weirdo that I wanted her character to be— and make her so much more relatable and interesting— which she does beautifully. I gave her the script and a little teaser that I had shot for the movie and she just loved it. It was so exciting because with her involvement it was like, “Oh, now we can really move this along.” I was going to make the movie no matter what and was pushing it forward. But Kristen signing on was definitely like “Alright here we go, this is going to happen quickly.” Kristen’s character had a daughter when she was 16 and she never grew up. Her emotional growth stopped the moment she had a kid. She’s not a responsible parent in anyway. I think that was very common after the free love movement. There were sort of a lot of kids around where it wasn’t really planned. People weren’t making conscious decisions to have kids. It was just kind
of happening, and all the rules were being thrown out the window. Those parents didn’t want to be an authority to begin with because they hated authority— so then how do you be a parent? It was just a really confusing thing. And I think San Francisco is kind of a city with a lot of lost kids and not a lot of parents, especially at that time. Kristen was unafraid to go to dark places with the character, which I love. She came into the filming with all of these ideas about Charlotte’s gestures and physicality. She came in with these long dark fingernails that helped inform this way of being. We put her in all of these incredible 70s outfits. It’s like she was meant for that era. Every costume fitting with her was such a joy because every weird jumpsuit we put on her looked amazing. We had too many things for her to wear. We wanted her to be in every different outfit, weird big coats and crazy things. The scene where Bel returns home and they reconnect felt particularly honest, and it’s done in very few words. It was a really difficult scene to write, to figure out how we could get an incredibly honest reaction from this character, because I do think at the end that Kristen’s character has not necessarily grown. She’s the same that she was at the start. But Minnie has changed, and learned to accept her mom for who she is in a different kind of way. But it was really important to me that it didn’t feel like this bullshit thing where everybody learns their huge lesson and comes out on the other side of this experience a changed person. Because that’s not reality, and Kristen totally understood that impetus of emotional denial kicking in and coping mechanisms and how do we do things just to move forward. So yeah, it’s such a powerful moment. We all have that moment where we kind of rise above our parents. And that’s so painful. Talk about Alexander’s performance as “Monroe.” Alexander gives a performance that is just going to blow people’s minds. After I saw him in What Maisie Knew I realized he would be the perfect person for this. I honestly think it’s the hardest part in the movie in a lot of ways. Because it’s so easy to judge him, when you first read the script. It’d be so easy to just think of him as a monster. But as an actor, you can’t do that. You have to be willing to go to the really dark places, but you also have to be willing to find this total humanity. Monroe is really struggling with it. He’s on a path just like everybody else and the person who inhabits that character cannot in any way judge him. When Alex and I met to talk about the character, it just became so clear that he had such a generous perspective on who Monroe was. He inhabited this part in a way that was just beautiful to see. He just wanted to “go there.”
We did a week of rehearsal between Alex and Bel before filming, and that was crucial because we were able to work through their relationship chronologically, which, of course, you don’t get to do when you’re filming. But we got to work the scenes over and over again and build a bond between the two of them. They were immediately incredible together but we needed to build all that deep nuanced stuff underneath the surface. And Alex was just so great about that, because he wants to do all of that work. He wanted to really go there and understand what this relationship was, and how deep it was. Talk about Christopher Meloni’s character. His character is so interesting because he functions as the only seeming adult in the movie. But he’s kind of a total dipshit. Every teenager sort of has some grown up who they’re fighting against. He kind of represented this other part of the 70s, which was like this pseudointellectual, bullshit psychiatry, pretending like you have a philosophy of how the world works, and is just kind of pretentious. But on the other hand, he’s the only character who recognizes that Minnie is smart. He values Minnie in some way based on something other than her sexuality. He tells her she’s smart. He wants her to do well in school, and he could be a positive influence if he was a little more present. The music was terrific. Can you talk about it? It’s a challenge to make a low budget movie in a period, and there are only a few things you can really do to help cheat the world, because we didn’t have the budget for thousands of cars and huge sets and all that kind of stuff. Instead, we basically had clothing, the house, and all of the production design, and the music. Those were the ways to kind of cheat. It was really important to us with all of these decisions... with the production design, with set design, with costumes, with music, that we weren’t going for cheesy costume party 70s. We’ve all been to cheesy costume parties and hear the same disco songs and wear bellbottoms and blah blah blah. We wanted to really create a world that felt authentic to the Bay area in the 70s, which was a lot of hold over from the 60s. But in 1976, there were all these things crashing against the city. Disco. Punk was emerging— the Ramones first album came out that year, Iggy Pop. So there was this other world starting to form. Different influences coming in at the same time and we wanted it to feel really honest to all of those different kind of influences. And so basically, with a limited budget and a lot of creativity, in each of those worlds we just tried to get super character based and specific about things. We asked questions like what kind of music would Minnie listen to? What kind of music would her mom listen to? What’s the difference in those? How would Minnie’s musical taste evolve?
And what’s the difference between Minnie and Charlotte’s music. I think Charlotte is still holding over some stuff form the 60s. She’s got a little bit of sentimentality but is also dabbling a tiny bit in disco. Whereas Minnie is influenced by her mom because she has been listening to a certain music her whole life, but is getting drawn in by this punk scene that probably wasn’t even called punk yet. Rocky Horror, and Iggy Pop, and this whole kind of glam thing starts to pull her in. So our challenge was to use enough music that was real and authentic from the 70s and then create music that could help the emotional landscape. And so the composer, who happens to be my brother, had a big job because he had to basically take all of these musical elements and influences that were coming from different sources and had to figure out a way to weave them together. He had to create this emotional evolution with the amount of 70s music we could really afford— which wasn’t a ton— and fill it in with a score that felt authentic to the time too. It was a big job. How long did you shoot? We shot for 24 days in San Francisco, which was so great because it was like going home to make my first movie. My parents would chill out on set all the time. And like I said, my brother did the music for it. My sister-in-law was my costume designer. So it was very much a family affair. It was sort of “all hands on deck.” We were filming in houses of family friends, and calling in favors wherever possible. And my husband’s father is the artistic director of the Berkeley Repertory Theater, and they were generous enough to lend us costumes and let us raid their prop shop. We really got to kind of take advantage of the resources of what it’s like to make a movie— in your hometown. Talk about the animation sequences in the film. So I found this incredible animator, Sara Gunnarsdottir, she’s an Icelandic animator. It was just really important that I found someone who was into this style, 70s comic book work. And she had recently graduated and never worked on a feature film. Her style was just so perfect for what this was— this kind of crude, hand drawn, really tactile paper feel. She was the first person who really got brought on to the movie. Two years ago, we started developing the style and coming up with the ways in which the animation could kind of be surprising... because I feel that there are a lot of ways that animation can be used within movies that’s kind of boring. And we really wanted to push it, and find interesting weird ways to have it further the movie. We wanted it to play in an emotional way and show how incredible this character’s mind is. And find ways for the animation to be a little clue for us into Minnie’s subconscious and her psyche. We wanted it to be funny and surprising. We were always having conversations about where the animation
could come out and surprise you and you wouldn’t know its coming. We didn’t want it to be sort of this stereotypical thing where she’s a girl suddenly walking into a cartoon world. We based the style of animation on Phoebe’s drawing style. She’s really detailed, and has a way of depicting humanness and sexuality in a way that’s both honest and shocking. It was a teenager doing these drawings, so it couldn’t be the most sophisticated or advanced. When Phoebe wrote her book she did a lot of her drawings later in life, looking back on her own experiences. Some of those drawings are just so detailed and incredibly sophisticated. We tried to keep it a little bit in the cruder realm because Minnie’s just learning and developing her artistic style. What do you hope people will take away from it? I guess I just hope that people feel like they understand teenage girls a little more, or that they see part of their lives in it. I just hope it feels real. Honest. All I want is for it to feel honest— something that doesn’t feel like a predictable canned story, I want it to be something that feels like life.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS MARIELLE HELLER (Writer/Director)
As a writer and director, Heller is currently in development on a number of films, screenplays and plays. Heller has been honored with numerous fellowships opportunities for her work including a 2012 Sundance Screenwriting Fellow and Directing Fellow, the Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship and the Maryland Film Festival Fellowship. She and the film have also been generously supported by Cinereach among others. Also an actress, Heller has made appearances in numerous television series alongside notable talents including A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES starring Liam Neeson, MACGRUBER featuring Kristen Wiig, and comedy shorts AWESOMETOWN and WHITE POWER, among others. Having studied theater at UCLA and at RADA in London, Heller performed on stage in the world premiere of David Edgar's CONTINENTAL DIVIDE directed by Tony Taccone at Berkeley Rep, Birmingham Rep in England, the Barbican Theater on the West End, and the La Jolla Playhouse. She played “Ophelia” in HAMLET at 2100 Sq Feet in Los Angeles, “Cordelia” in KING LEAR at San Diego Rep, as well as “Hero” in MUCH ADO at Theatricum Botanicum. In 2010, Heller starred as “Minnie Goetze” in Sarah Cameron Sunde and Rachel Eckerling’s acclaimed stage production of THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL at New York’s 3LD Art & Technology Center— which Heller adapted from the novel. Heller currently resides in New York with her husband, Jorma Taccone—who is an actor, writer and director of comedy films—and son. ANNE CAREY (Producer)
Anne Carey is President of Production at Archer Gray, a media production, finance, and venture investment company based in New York City. In her career as an independent producer, Carey has been associated with filmmakers such as Ang Lee, Anton Corbijn, Bill Condon, Todd Field, Greg Mottola, Tamara Jenkins, Alan Ball, Mike Mills and Nicole Holofcener. Carey’s films have been distributed by Fox Searchlight, Sony Picture Classics, Warner Independent, Focus Features, Miramax and HBO; and her films have played and premiered at major domestic and international film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, The Berlin Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. BERT HAMELINCK (Producer)
Bert Hamelinck is the managing director of Caviar Group and a producer in Caviar’s film and television department. He has produced over thirteen feature films and six television series.
He most recently produced THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, a Sundance Writers and Directors Lab Project starring Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård. Prior to this, Bert coproduced Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC, which Caviar co-financed and co-produced alongside Zentropa. Other recent credits include the box office hit MADLY IN LOVE, directed by Hilde Van Mieghem, and the critically acclaimed MY QUEEN KARO, directed by Dorothee Van Den Berghe. KARO premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009, and was nominated for a European Film Award. For television, Bert produced the pan-European miniseries THE SPIRAL, which centers on an art heist orchestrated by a team of international conspirators. Among the world’s first interactive series, it was broadcast simultaneously in nine countries in September 2012 and was nominated for an International Digital Emmy. He also served as co-producer on COPACABANA, directed by Marc Fitoussi, as well as MR. NOBODY, directed by Jaco Van Dormael and starring Jared Leto, Diane Kruger and Sarah Polley. As an accomplished Director of Photography, Bert shot second unit on the Caviar-produced, FIPA award-winning mini-series, THE EMPEROR OF TASTE. Originally from Belgium, Bert is based in Los Angeles and travels frequently to wherever business takes him. MADELINE SAMIT (Producer)
Madeline Samit heads the Film Department at Caviar’s Los Angeles office. She brings talent into the company for both films and commercials and works closely with in-house talent to develop features, television and other long-form entertainment. Madeline most recently produced THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, a Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab Project, written and directed by Marielle Heller, starring Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård and Bel Powley. The film has been selected for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it will premiere in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Previously, Madeline produced the short film CROWN, which premiered at Slamdance, as well as the REAL MEN campaign for Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore's DNA foundation. Madeline also plays a key role in the sales and distribution of the many Belgian films and series that Caviar produces. Prior to Caviar, Madeline worked at Olympus Pictures where she was involved in ADAM, a Fox Searchlight feature staring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne. Madeline is a graduate of Wesleyan
University where she received a degree in psychology -- something she uses every day in Hollywood. MIRANDA BAILEY (Producer)
Miranda Bailey began her career as an actress in New York, appearing in numerous theatrical productions before moving to Los Angeles. Over the last 14 years, she has produced over 20 films including the Oscar nominated THE SQUID AND THE WHALE and Sundance premiere AGAINST THE CURRENT, as well as the documentaries UNRAVELED and SPINNING PLATES. As CEO of Cold Iron Pictures, Miranda recently produced Oren Moverman's TIME OUT OF MIND starring Richard Gere, which premiered at TIFF in 2014. MICHAEL SAGOL (Executive Producer)
Born in Belgium, Michael came to the states with his family in 1984. He attended Emerson College in Boston, graduating and moving to Los Angeles in 1996. In his early career he mixed freelance production work with assistant work, even spending nearly a year as an assistant to Steven Seagal. There’s an NDA involved but if you give him enough wine he might tell you a bit about it. In 2002, Michael culled his various experiences into the founding of Atomik Pictures, a service commercial production company. The company grew quickly, opening satellite offices in New York City and Cape Town, South Africa. In 2005, Atomik merged with Caviar, a Belgian based production company. Five years later, Michael joined forces with Jasper Thomlinson, bringing him on to the Caviar team as Executive Producer. Together, they’ve built an incredible roster of talent including directors Peter Farrelly (DUMB AND DUMBER, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY), Jody Hill (HBO’s EASTBOUND & DOWN), Ruben Fleischer (ZOMBIELAND), and Jorma Taccone (THE LONELY ISLAND). Under Michael and Jasper’s direction, the company has also expanded its music video, TV and Film divisions as well. Michael served as a juror in the Craft division at Cannes 2012, the year in which Caviar was voted 4th in the Top Production Company list, and as AICP Chairman for 2014. Most recently Michael and Caviar’s Commercial division have been working with A-List clients such as Chrysler, Adidas, Pepsi, AT&T, P&G and Levis. The Film and TV Department have just finished their first feature, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, which is premiering at Sundance 2015, on which Michael was the Executive Producer.
Michael lives in Santa Monica, CA with his girlfriend Vanessa, two daughters – Stella and Lucia – and their Chocolate Lab, Coco. AMANDA MARSHALL (Executive Producer)
After receiving her BA in psychology, Amanda Marshall relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 2001, where she also made the switch from education to the entertainment field. She was previously Head of Production at Ambush Entertainment. There she produced ANSWERS TO NOTHING and co-produced a number of films including THE RIVER WHY, EVERY DAY, and James Gunn’s SUPER. She is currently VP at Cold Iron Pictures, where she has most recently executive produced Oren Moverman’s TIME OUT OF MIND starring Richard Gere – a 2014 TIFF selection. JORMA TACCONE (Executive Producer)
Jorma Taccone is an actor, director, musician and writer. Taccone is one third of THE LONELY ISLAND along with Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer. Together they created the SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Digital Shorts which became a cultural phenomenon starting with LAZY SUNDAY. In 2010, he co-wrote and directed the film MACGRUBER, and he is currently set for THE LONELY ISLAND MUSICAL at Universal as his next film. AMY NAUIOKAS (Executive Producer)
Amy Nauiokas is a venture capitalist, producer, and the founder of Archer Gray, a media production, finance, and venture investment company with offices in New York City and London. Archer Gray’s venture efforts focus on media and digital markets. Archer Gray’s production projects include the eight-time Tony Award-winning play ONCE, and Sundance Film Festival selections THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, TEN THOUSAND SAINTS, LITTLE ACCIDENTS and THE INEVITABLE DEFEAT OF MISTER AND PETE. Previously, Amy served as CEO of Barclays Stockbrokers. She has also served as Head of E-Commerce at Barclays Capital and as Senior Managing Director at Cantor Fitzgerald. Amy is a member of the Dickinson College Board of Trustees, Board Chair of Make-A-Wish International and CoFounder of the Bubble Foundation. PHOEBE GLOECKNER (Author)
Phoebe Gloeckner was born in Philadelphia and raised in San Francisco. Her comics first appeared in underground publications when she was in her teens. A critically acclaimed collection of her comics, paintings, and etchings, A Child's Life and Other Stories, was published in 1998. Her next book, The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures, was published in 2002. In addition to paintings and comics, she has made award-winning short films.
ABOUT THE CAST BEL POWLEY (Minnie Goetze)
Bel Powley is a rising British actress whose work already spans stage and the big screen. Later in 2015, Powley will be seen starring in GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT opposite Sarah Gadon, Jack Reynor, Rupert Everett and Emily Watson. The historical drama follows young Princesses Margaret (Powley) and Elizabeth (Gadon), as they sneak out of Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day on May 8, 1945, by mingling with the masses. Directed by Julian Jarrold, GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT will be released on May 15, 2015 in the UK. Powley recently wrapped production on Drake Doremus’ upcoming science fiction romantic drama EQUALS. The movie, which also stars Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver, takes place in a futuristic utopian society, where human emotions have been eradicated and everyone lives in peace. Things unravel when a new disease surfaces and infects the protagonists. The movie will bow in 2015. Powley was previously seen playing one of the lead characters in CBBC’s show “M.I.High.” Her past TV credits also include appearances on UK shows “Benidorm,” “Murderland,” “Little Dorrit,” and “The Whistleblowers.” Additionally, Powley has appeared in numerous plays including her recent turn in “Elephants” at the Hampstead Theater in London. She has starred in the Royal Court Theatre’s production of “Tusk Tusk” as well as in the West End’s “Jumpy.” On Broadway, she was Thomasina in the 2011 revival of “Arcadia” at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. A British native, Powley currently resides in London. ALEXANDER SKARSGÅRD (Monroe)
Alexander can be seen starring in all 7 seasons of HBO Series, TRUE BLOOD based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, in which he plays “Eric Northman”. He recently finished shooting the Warner Brothers feature film, TARZAN directed by David Yates. Previously, Alexander starred in Lars Von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA. As well as DISCONNECT directed by Henry Alex Rubin which Bill Horberg and Mickey Liddell produced and WHAT MAISIE KNEW with Julianne Moore. He can also be seen in THE EAST directed by Zal Batmanglij for Fox Searchlight. He recently wrapped The Weinstein Company Film, The Giver co- starring opposite Meryl Streep, opposite Jeff Bridges and directed by Phillip Noyce. Alex can also be seen starring in THE DIARY FOR A TEENAGE GIRL with Kristen Wiig which was directed by Marielle Heller.
CHRISTOPHER MELONI (Pascal)
Christopher Meloni was last seen co-starring as ‘Brock’ in Greg Araki’s WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD, based on the book of the same name by Laura Kasischke, with Shailene Woodley and Eva Green and as ‘Mort’ with Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, and Mickey Rourke in SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR, the sequel to 2005’s screen adaptation of Frank Miller's highly regarded graphic novel. The Washington, D.C. native studied acting at the University of Colorado - Boulder before graduating with a degree in History. He worked in construction and as a bouncer before breaking into acting, studying his craft in New York with legendary teacher Sanford Meisner. His television breakout role was on NYPD BLUE, opposite Kim Delaney. That led to being cast on HBO’s gritty landmark series OZ, playing the psychotic, bisexual serial killer, Chris Keller. In 1999, he landed his starring role on the popular and long-running NBC series LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, with Meloni working in both series simultaneously until OZ ended its 6 year run in 2003. He continued on LAW & ORDER: SVU for twelve seasons, earning an Emmy nomination for his performance as Detective Elliot Stabler. Meloni then returned to HBO in a pivotal arc as the head of the Vampire Authority, Roman, in Alan Ball’s wildly popular drama, TRUE BLOOD and Julie Louis-Dreyfus’ trainer, Ray, in VEEP. Meloni was last seen playing Jack Dunlevy, in the Fox comedy, SURVIVING JACK. Meloni’s other big screen credits include MAN OF STEEL, 42, THEY CAME TOGETHER, SMALL TIME, the Terry Gilliam films FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS and TWELVE MONKEYS; the Wachowskis’ first film BOUND; the romantic comedy blockbuster RUNAWAY BRIDE, NIGHTS IN RODANTHE, and such cult favorites as WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE, and its first sequel, HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY. KRISTEN WIIG (Charlotte Goetze)
Kristen Wiig has become one of the industry’s most versatile actresses of her generation. From her breakout performance onSATURDAY NIGHT LIVE to the Oscar nominated film BRIDESMAIDS, Wiig has transitioned from television to film as a writer and producer. In 2012, Time magazine honored Wiig in their esteemed Time 100 issue. In 2009, Entertainment Weekly acknowledged Wiig as one of the top 15 great performers for her work on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. Wiig has been nominated for seven Emmy Awards and received her first Oscar nomination for writing BRIDESMAIDS.
Wiig recently finished production on Ridley Scott’s THE MARTIAN, alongside Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara and Matt Damon. The film chronicles the story of an astronaut struggling to live on Mars, and will be released by Twentieth Century Fox on November 25, 2015. Wiig also recently finished production on Relativity’s comedy, UNTITLED ARMORED CAR, in which she will star opposite Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis. Directed by Jared Hess and produced by John Goldwyn and Lorne Michaels, UNTITLED ARMORED CAR chronicles the true story of one of the biggest bank heists in American history in 1997 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Last year, Wiig starred in the IFC film HATESHIP LOVESHIP, alongside Guy Pearce, Nick Nolte, and Hailee Steinfeld. Based on the short story by the Nobel Prize winning Canadian author Alice Munroe, HATESHIP LOVESHIP is directed by Liza Johnson. In a dramatic turn, Wiig portrays Johanna, a shy, introverted housekeeper hired to care for Mr. McCauley (Nolte) and his granddaughter Sabitha (Steinfeld.) Through the act of a mean spirited joke, Johanna is forced to deal with the repercussions of falling in love with an illusion. Also in 2014, Wiig starred in the critically acclaimed THE SKELETON TWINS, directed by Craig Johnson, starring opposite Bill Hader and Luke Wilson. THE SKELETON TWINS tells the story of twins Maggie (Wiig) and Milo (Hader) who cheat death, prompting them to reunite after ten years. Wiig received an Emmy nomination for her performance in the epic IFC television miniseries spoof, THE SPOILS OF BABYLON, written and directed by Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele and executive produced by Will Ferrell. Wiig, starring opposite Tobey Maguire and Tim Robbins portrayed Cynthia Morehouse, the daughter of the rich and successful patriarch, Jonas Morehouse (Robbins.) Also this year, Wiig completed production on three independent films, WELCOME TO ME, NASTY BABY and THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL. WELCOME TO ME, directed by Shira Piven (Fully Loaded) is produced by Wiig and Gary Sanchez productions and screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The film tells the story of Alice Klieg (Wiig,) a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who wins the lottery, quits her psychiatric medication and buys her own talk show. WELCOME TO ME follows a year in the life of this “extraordinary” woman, who, inspired by the immortal Oprah, broadcasts her dirty laundry as both a form of exhibitionism and a platform to share her peculiar views on life. Millennium will be distributing WELCOME TO ME in the Spring of 2015.
NASTY BABY, written and directed by Sebastian Silva (Crystal Fairy,) chronicles the lives of a gay couple (Silva and Tunde Adebimpe) who embark on a failed mission to have a baby with the help of their best friend, Polly (Wiig.) In 2013, Wiig starred in the THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY opposite Ben Stiller, who also produced and directed the film. Based on the 1939 short story by James Thurber, WALTER MITTY is a breathtaking look into the world of fantasy seen through the eyes of Walter (Stiller) and his daydream sequences. Wiig portrays Cheryl Melhoff, Walter’s co-worker at Time Magazine who inspires him to take action into his own hands when their jobs are threatened. Also in December 2013, Wiig starred in the box office smash, ANCHORMAN TWO, THE LEGEND CONTINUES portraying Chani, opposite Steve Carell. Wiig also voiced the character of SexyKitten in the Oscar nominated film, HER. Last summer, Wiig voiced the character of Lucy in the Oscar nominated, DESPICABLE ME 2 starring opposite Steve Carell. In 2012, Wiig finished her seventh and final season as a cast member on NBC’s revered show SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. During her time on SNL, Wiig received four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, playing such memorable characters as the excitable Target Lady, Lawrence Welk singer Doonese, the irritating one-upper Penelope, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Suze Orman. In 2013, Wiig was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her return as a host on the show earlier that year. In 2011, Wiig starred in BRIDESMAIDS, which she co-wrote with Annie Mumolo, and for which they were nominated for an Academy Award, Writers Guild of America Award, and BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay. Directed by Paul Feig and produced by Wiig and Judd Apatow, BRIDESMAIDS is Apatow’s highest-grossing production and is the top R-rated female comedy of all time. Wiig was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Lead Actress in a Comedy or Musical, along with the film being nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. The film also received a SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Other film credits include Apatow’s KNOCKED UP; GIRL MOST LIKELY, directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, FRIENDS WITH KIDS, written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt; Greg Mottola’s PAUL and ADVENTURELAND, ALL GOOD THINGS with Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst; MACGRUBER alongside Will Forte; Mike Judge’s EXTRACT with Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore’s WHIP IT, David Keopp’s GHOST TOWN and Jake Kasdan’s WALK HARD, another Apatow-produced film in which she starred opposite John C. Reilly. Voice acting credits include the Cartoon Network's THE LOONEY TUNES
SHOW, for which Wiig received an Emmy nomination, Fox’s THE SIMPSONS and the animated feature films DESPICABLE ME (1 and 2) and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (1 and 2.) Wiig has also guest-starred in the NBC television series 30 ROCK, HBO’s BORED TO DEATH, Netflix’ ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, Comedy Central’s DRUNK HISTORY and IFC’s FLIGHT OF THE CONCORDS and PORTLANDIA. A native of Rochester, New York, Wiig began her career as a main company member of the Los Angeles-based improvisational and sketch comedy group, The Groundlings. Wiig currently resides in New York City.
SONGS "Looking For The Magic” Written by Dwight A. Twilley Performed by Dwight Twilley Band Courtesy of Capitol Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises
“Mine To Lose” Written by Merida Gorman-Patrick Performed by Banditas Courtesy of Hard To Kill Records
"Nothing But A Ghost" Written by Nate Heller Performed by Nate Heller & Reni Lane
“Dreamsong” Written by Nate Heller & Emily Heller Performed by Nate Heller feat. Amber Coffman Additional instrumental contribution (Trombone) by Reni Lane Amber Coffman appears courtesy of Columbia Records, A division of Sony Music Entertainment
“Crying Laughing Loving Lying” Written by Labi Siffre Performed by Labi Siffre Courtesy of Parlophone Records Ltd. By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
“Andante” Written by Antonio Vivaldi Performed by Nate Heller
"Dreamboat Annie” Written by Ann Wilson & Nancy Wilson Performed by Heart Courtesy of Capitol Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises
“Next Plane to London” Written by Kenny O’Dell Performed by The Rose Garden Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
“Precious Star” Written by Marc Bolan Performed by T.Rex Courtesy of Spirit Music Group
“Down On The Street” Written by David M. Alexander, Ronald Asheton, Scott Asheton, Iggy Pop Performed by The Stooges Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
“If It's Good To You” Written by Dan Greer & Stanley Carter Performed by Barbara & The Browns Courtesy of Simply Grand Music, Inc.
“A Fool In Love” Written by Francis Miller Performed by Frankie Miller Courtesy of Parlophone Records Ltd. By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
“Shame Shame Shame” Written by Hayley Thompson-King Performed by Banditas Courtesy of Hard To Kill Records
“Roll Away The Stone” Written by Ian Hunter Performed by Mott The Hoople Courtesy of Columbia Records By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
“All The Time In The World” Written by Amy Raasch & David Poe Performed by Amy Raasch & David Poe
“See No Evil” Written by Tom Verlaine Performed by Television Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
“Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams” Written by Lou Reed Performed by Nico Courtesy of Universal Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises
"Run To The Mountain" Written by Nate Heller Performed by Nate Heller
"The Beach" Written by Nate Heller Performed by Nate Heller & Reni Lane